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Israeli Moovit Transit App Acquired By Intel For $900 Million

Israeli Moovit Transit App Acquired By Intel For $900 Million
United States based chip maker Intel anncouend that it has purchased the Israel based public transit app maker Moovit in a deal worth about $900 million. The chip maker said that the this deal will help in the development of self-driving "robotaxis" that could be rolled out by the company on to the streets by early 2022.
Under the deal, the management of Moovit will be kept independent of Intel but the technology that possesses as well as the data that it will gather from more than 800 million of its users in 102 countries across the world will be used in a n integrated manner into Intel's Israel-based autonomous car unit Mobileye.
In 2018, the valuation of Moovit was at $500 million when it had last raised money from the market and therefore the money that was paid by Intel for the deal was almost twice the market value of Moovit. In a previous equity investment, Intel had invested in about 7 per cent of Moovit while the chip maker paid about $840 million in cash to assume full ownership through the acquisition.
According to reports citing sources with information about the deal, the two companies had been in negotiations with the deal before the emergence of the novel coronavirus pandemic as Moovit was looking out to raise capital. The reports quoted sources saying that even though the Israeli company had enough cash with it to last throughout the current year, it decided to go for an outright sale of the company and therefore explore potential customers as the coronavirus pandemic hit. Reports said that amid the pandemic, the two companies finalized the deal through a series of virtual meetings within a period of 40 days.
"Moovit is an acquisition that fills some very critical gaps that we have going forward," Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua told Reuters.
Intel aims to develop a small fleet of driverless taxis that are to be deployed in countries like Israel, France, and South Korea, he said.
The travel app from Moovit is seemingly popular among commuters or tourists as it helps them to locate and find out the best way to a destination as it hsows them the bus and train routes, bike paths and car-pooling options.
Shashua said that when this app from Moovit gets integrated with Mobileye, the resultant app will transform into a platform which can be used for ordering of robotaxis while on the other hand, the real-time data will make sure that the vehicles are deployed in high-demand areas.
According to forecasts of Intel, the global market for robotaxis will be about $160 billion by 2030.
"For a company like Intel, which has a very orderly plan of how the future should unfold, the coronavirus should not be a setback. On the contrary, you should look at the crisis then find opportunities," Shashua said.
Till date, investments of about $133 million has been raised by Moovit through findoing rounds with investments from the likes of Intel, BMW iVentures, and Sequoia Capital.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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